Care home residents will be able to choose a friend or relative as a ‘named visitor’ even during a managed Covid-19 outbreak under new guidance.

It marks a change from the current practice where most homes suspend routine visiting until outbreaks are over.

The Scottish Government said the measure would ensure those living in care homes continue to have meaningful contact with loved ones while balancing the need for continuing infection prevention and control measures.

The change will apply to one named visitor when a care home is in a controlled Covid-19 outbreak and guidance has been offered to care homes to manage this.

Revised guidelines issued last week by Public Health Scotland have already set out that residents should be able to receive visits from a nominated person even while they are self-isolating, for example as a precaution after hospital stays.

Social Care Minister Kevin Stewart also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to introducing ‘Anne’s Law’ which will allow care home residents to choose someone to support them, following a campaign by Care Home Relatives Scotland

Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care Kevin Stewart said: “Throughout the pandemic, our overriding priority in care homes has been to safeguard and protect staff and residents from infection – but at times that meant that residents were cut off from their loved ones, which we know has caused anguish and distress for many.

“The proposal for a named visitor will provide continuity of meaningful contact for care home residents in managed COVID-19 outbreak situations, helping to protect residents’ wellbeing in parallel by allowing visiting in a safer way, rather than automatically suspending routine visiting during an outbreak.

“We will further strengthen residents’ rights in adult residential settings through the introduction of ‘Anne’s Law’ and a consultation setting out our aspirations for Anne’s Law and seeking views on how best we might make it work in practice will be published shortly.”